Dr C P Ravikumar

Vitamin C also termed as Ascorbic acid. The word ascorbic acid comes from the Latin word ‘scorbutus’ which was the term used by them for the scurvy disease. Putting an ‘A’ at the front here means ‘anti-scurvy’ i.e. it protects against the disease called scurvy.
Vitamin C is one of the water-soluble vitamins. Our body cannot produce this vitamin on its own that is why we need to consume it from the outer sources. We need to consume it on a daily basis especially in the time of illness (10-20 times more than in normal days) because it is quickly excreted through the bowel and cannot be stored in the body.

Required Daily Amount of Vitamin C

Infants (1-3 years) 15 mg
Children (4-9 years) 25 mg
Adolescents (9-13 years) 45 mg
Teens (14-18 years) 65-75 mg
Women (>19 years) 75 mg
Men (>19 years) 90 mg
Pregnant women 85 mg
Breastfeeding women 120 mg
What is a mega-dose?“5 Vitamin C.” Institute of Medicine. 2000. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9810.
A healthy individual is capable of taking 4,000-15,000mg of Vitamin C a day without getting diarrhea. A point to consider here is that the body will excrete the excess amount of Vitamin C via bowel when it isn’t being used.
So it’s more than safe to say that your frequent mini trips to the bathroom and consistency are a good indicator of whether you are taking enough Vitamin C for good health.


Fruits Serving Milligrams per serving
Lemon 1 fruit 44.5
Orange 1 large fruit 97.5
Kiwi fruit 1 fruit 64
Papaya 1 small fruit 97.6
Guava 1 cup, raw 377
Grapefruit juice 1 cup 93.9
Pineapple 1 cup chunks, raw 78.9
Mango 1 cup 60.1
strawberries 1 cup, sliced 97.6
Tomato juice 1 cup, canned 170

Vegetables & spices Serving Milligrams per serving
Red Bell Pepper Per 100 gm 80 mg
Kale 1 cup 180 mg
Broccoli 1 cup, raw 81.2
Potato 1 large 72.7
Brussels sprouts 1 cup, raw 74.8
Cauliflower 1 cup, raw 51.6
Cabbage 1 cup, raw 44 mg
Thyme Per 100 gm 160 mg
Green chilli 1 green chilli 109 mg

Animal sources Amount (mg/100 gm)
Lamb liver (fried) 12
Lamb heart (roasted) 11
Lamb tongue (stewed) 6
Calf adrenals (raw) 11
Human milk 4
Cow milk 2
Goat milk 2

Vitamin C is one of the primary ingredients for immune system strengthening. It is used to promote the proteins, cells, and enzymes used for fighting off an infection. Immunity Booster Health Benefits
Rejuvenates Skin Cells
It is required for the production of collagen which is found in youthful skin and connective joints. It has many skin benefits like brightening by impeding melanin production, photo-protection, wound healing, wrinkle reduction, reduces inflammation, firms and smoothens the skin, and fades dark spots, and boosts skin cells rejuvenation by removing dead or damaged skin cells
Stimulates Energy Production and Growth
It is needed for energy production. This is why people with Vitamin C deficiency feel lethargic. Also, it is important for the growth and maintenance of all body tissues hence, for healing wounds.
Vision friendly
It helps protect your vision by fighting free radicals and helping you absorb more trace minerals and nutrients.
Maintains Body Structure
Essential for bones, cartilage, muscles, and blood vessels, helps maintain capillaries and gum and aids in the absorption of iron.
Heart healthy
Experts say that Vitamin C gives a protective effect when it comes to heart health. It helps in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol in your body (fat that can clog your arteries and give rise to many heart diseases as well as other diseases), thus protecting you from fatal heart diseases.
Supports Memory
Oxidative stress is believed to be one of the causative factors of dementia. Since Vitamin C helps in fighting the free radicals, it is said to be effective in supporting memory.
Looks After Your Hair
It enhances the hair growth and fights dandruff, giving your hair a healthy, shiny, and thick look.

Deficiency of Vitamin C causes-
  • Scurvy
  • Fatigue
  • Reduce immune resistance
  • Easy bruising and slow wound healing
  • Bone pain with swollen and painful joints
  • Bleeding gums and gingivitis (inflammation of gums)
  • Rough and dry hair and scaly skin
  • Weakened immune system
  • Possible weight gain due to the digestive disorders
  • Chronic diseases like- Heart problems, gall bladder disease, stroke, cancer, atherosclerosis.

Does cooking destroy vitamin C in the food?
Vitamin C is the most easily destroyed Vitamin out there. Not only is it destroyed by heat but also in oxygen. Being a water-soluble vitamin it seeps out into the cooking water.

DO’s and DON’Ts while preparing Vitamin C rich food
  • Preserve the fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them.
  • Prepare the dishes using these ingredients right just before serving.
  • Cut these fruits and vegetables in large pieces, preventing the oxidative damage.
  • Steaming and stir-frying are the two safest methods since very low content of water is used in these cooking processes.
  • While preserving already chopped fruits or vegetables, keep them in an air-tight container.
Dr C P Ravikumar

Dr C P Ravikumar

Aster CMI Hospital, Bangalore